Category Archives: Milan design week

Milan Design week

The Stack Screen for Hotel Wallpaper, Milan 2016

For the second year running, Bill Amberg Studio were invited by Wallpaper magazine to design and make a custom product for Milan design week.

For this year’s showcase, the publication invited leading designers, artists and manufacturers come together with one-off collaborations for Hotel Wallpaper, creating a veritable feast of design excellence.

Even now, having worked with leather for over 30 years, the team here at Bill Amberg Studio are constantly discovering new applications for it as a structural material. Forming cohesion between traditional methods in leather craft and modern design aesthetic; an essential part of the work we do is to continue pushing the boundaries of leather design. Through this process of experimentation, we developed a structural material; Stack.

Stack looks at leather as a surface material from a fresh perspective, while also acting as means of recycling workshop waste and the hundreds of leather off-cuts from other studio projects. Through a process of stacking the leather strips, a natural pattern emerges, and the application of resin and sanding results in a remarkably smooth and tactile surface. The result is a striped pattern in a variety of colours – entirely made from recycled leather.

For Hotel Wallpaper, we explore the architectural aesthetics of a hotel room, taking inspiration from a classic dressing screen. Simplified architecture is often complemented with interesting interior elements, allowing the space to adopt to changing trends, uses and functions over time. This idea forms the conceptual basis for the Stack Screen, challenging the structural possibilities of incorporating the Stack material into the design.

A key in the making process was collaborating with a professional joiner who has a level understanding on how to convert the Stack material into an easily applicable format for interior products and surfaces. Arden Hodges, with their high level of expertise in architectural joinery, worked closely with us to devise a manufacture process that would make the Stack an accessible material. To create a smooth finish, the Arden Hodges team suggested the best method of application was by incorporating a tongue and groove joint as it results in both a robust and seamless finish. The tactile characteristic of the material is demonstrated with the use of both curved and flat surfaces on the screen; the patterns adding an illusion of depth to the rounded shape. The Stack Screen represents a new way of using leather in furniture and as a breakthrough in leather production techniques.

The story behind the Earth & Fire table tops for Tom Dixon, Milan 2016

Having worked with the Tom Dixon Design Research Studio over the years, Bill Amberg Studio were once again invited to partner up for another design showcase. For Fuorisalone 2016, we were asked to design and make the table tops for two of the four element-themed dining halls at The Restaurant, presented by Caesarstone and Tom Dixon. The team at Tom Dixon Design Research Studio approached us with the elements of Earth and Fire.

Intrigued by ancient materials, we were able to locate unused leather scraps from the storage of various tanneries we work with. The Earth table tops are made from highly characteristic sections of old leather; a shoulder panel from a cow hide. Representing the most natural grain of the animal, it is a highly irregular and tough section of the leather, qualities that make it the least used part of the hide and a by-product in the leather industry.

For the Fire table tops, we choose a black leather with a ‘waxy’ bloom texture on the surface that had transformed into a pattern that is more reminiscent of rock surface than a hide. Due to the surfaced wax, the leather was easily charred; a process we undertook to achieve the intricate charcoal-like texture.

A key process during the design was achieving a balance between the material and its final form. Unique shapes and formations inspire the various surface styles; some are sectioned off in patterns, whilst others have been laid with a single sheet of leather to highlight the intricate textures. By working with the leather in this way, we are also able to reduce the waste produced in the making process. By taking the raw and chaotic leather and cutting and applying it in an organised sequence, we disrupt the natural pattern of the hide, resulting in contemporary table surfaces.

Bill Amberg Studio at Milan 2016

We are happy to announce that Bill Amberg Studio will be appearing at the Milan Fuorisalone from 11 to 17 April with two very unique and exquisite design showcases.

An authority on leather design, here at Bill Amberg Studio, we develop cutting-edge techniques to bring this ancient material into contemporary context, from interiors to product design.

This year we meet Tom Dixon at The Restaurant by Ceasarstone in the stunning Rotonda della Besana. Invited to explore the Fire and Earth themed dining halls, Bill Amberg Studio present an experimental and unconventional range of table top designs.

The Studio’s ongoing commitment in challenging the parameters of leather design saw the creation of a unique adaptable surface texture; Stack. For Hotel Wallpaper, a beautiful custom designed screen, handmade in collaboration with Ardern Hodges will form a part of the hotel setting. The Stack Screen represents a new way of using leather in furniture and as a breakthrough in leather production techniques.

If you would like to schedule a meeting in Milan, please contact the team at: